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Bad: It doesn't do as it claims. It leaks water on the inside.
Comment: DO NOT BUY this camera if you want a waterproof one.
This product has failed me and doesn't do as it claims.
Water actually leaks on the inside in both compartments (the one that holds the battery and the one that has the plugs).
This camera is a lie! Don't buy it, I'm VERY disappointed. I spent $399 on this.
Comment: I have been tossing over the Lumix FT1 or the Olympus Tough 310. This review has really helped me understand the finer user qualities that that Lumix offers. Thank you!
Good: Amazing video quality for a compact, Capable of some good shots in the right conditions, usable out of extreme environments too
Bad: Sub-par low-light performance, fiddly and stupidly placed video start button and main shutter release, ridiculous number of totally unnecessary scene modes
Comment: I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a waterproof camera for the last few years, I’ve always owned bridge cameras (and now a Canon 400D), none of which are particularly easy to take on the standards of rivers I regularly paddle (balancing a Peli case between your knees holding £1000 of camera and lens makes me somewhat nervous!). I finally decided to bite the bullet and throw some money at it this May.
I finally narrowed it down to the two current Olympus models (MJU Tough 6000 &8000), Canon’s first entry to the waterproof digital camera market (Powershot D10). After looking into it in quite a lot of detail and pondering for nearly a month, I chose the Lumix. Despite Panasonic being new to weatherproofed cameras (though there is always it’s Toughbook experience to draw on I suppose), I preferred the design as I would be able to actually use the camera in public places where the 400D was too conspicuous or simply too bulky to take with me (every other waterproof camera I’ve ever looked at looks either horrific or horrendously cute). Also, the whole point of me buying a camera is to take pictures with it, so the wider zoom range and superior image quality of the Panasonic held it far above all other contenders in my view (except the Canon which I hadn’t seen reviewed at that point).
So, to the Camera; it comes in a decent box, held securely in place a long way from the side so impact damage should be avoided. There is a proprietary output cable (to three phonos for sound and video). There is the usual random collection of quick start guides wasting paper in other languages, and a pretty comprehensive little A5 manual. Also included is a little brush, presumably for removing dust from the seals of the two flaps that cover the battery & SD card slots, and both the “HDMI” and mini B USB ports.
The camera feels quite solid in the hand, although I suspect the lovely cool metal finish will scratch given a nice sharp rock or similar. Slightly annoyingly the on-off switch requires you to hold it for just over a second, as it’s already recessed and has a reasonable amount of travel this seems an unnecessary precaution against accidentally switching it on in a pocket/pouch etc, and especially if you’re used to the quick start up times of DSLRS it will be a constant, tiny source of irritation every time you switch the camera on.
Actual performance isn’t bad considering the size - though when you’re paying a £100 premium over the 10megapixel group of waterproof cameras for a better quality lens, processing equipment, and dubious 2 higher megapixel count you do expect it to be better than the average compact. I’d say it’s similar to my old Fuji s5500 bridge camera (3mgpx), but slightly slower in burst mode. The focussing is perhaps slightly faster, obviously working better in more contrasty scenes and with more light. When using the video mode, the focus will gently fade in if it’s out or you change subjects quickly, which generally gives a smoother view than it suddenly jerking and hunting all over the place.
Picture quality is pretty good, again comparable with the super CCD HR sensor from my old Fuji, with maybe just a bit more tonal range (and obviously at a higher resolution, but especially on small images the differences are less obvious). High ISO performance is obviously not brilliant with such a small sensor, and this is one of the trade-offs with small waterproof cameras. If you tend to shoot in very dark locations (for instance I sometimes paddle in canyons or with thick overhead tree cover) then you will find the ISO creeps up quickly and is far more noisy than on the 400D. I suppose the perfect solution would be a Canon G10 with an underwater housing, but a tad pricy!
The flash is as you’d expect, adequate for pictures where you absolutely have to cover it in bright light, with quite good range and power, probably about quarter the range of my Canon 580ex. If you want a social snapshot when there’s not muc
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